How to cook dried beans

Amy:

I found the following information on the Pulse Canada website (www.pulsecanada.com).  Check out their website for information about pulses (beans, peas and lentils) and recipe ideas!

I like to use a slow cooker to cook dried beans as it’s fuss free and they can cook away all day while I am at work or running around on the weekend.

 

Soaking Pulses

• Dry beans, whole peas and chickpeas must be soaked before cooking.

• Dry lentils and split peas do NOT require soaking and only need to be rinsed before cooking.

• Before soaking or cooking, remove any shriveled or broken seeds or any foreign matter such as dried soil or pebbles, then place in a sieve and rinse under cold running water.

• Always discard the soaking water, place pulses in strainer or sieve and rinse well under cold running water. This will wash away any carbohydrates responsible for flatulence.

Long Cold Soak or Overnight – Let stand 12 hours or overnight in refrigerator

Quick Soak – Bring pulses and water to boil in a saucepan and boil gently for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour.

Microwave Soak – Combine pulses and water in a suitable microwave casserole dish, cover and microwave on high for 10-15 minutes. Let stand for 1 hour.

*For all three soaking methods, add 750 mL (3 cups) of water for every 250 mL (1 cup) of pulses.

 Cooking Dry Pulses

Pulses can be cooked on the stove top, in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, and for certain recipes such as baked beans, in the oven. Regardless of method used, acidic ingredients (such as tomatoes and vinegar) should be added only when the pulses are already tender, as acids and salt slow down the cooking process. However, seasonings such as garlic, onion and herbs may be added to the cooking water right from the beginning.

Some recipes suggest adding baking soda to help soften pulses. This is not recommended as baking soda destroys thiamin, and may make the pulses too soft.

Stove Top Cooking

• Combine pre-soaked pulses with water (5 mL or 1 tsp of oil to prevent foaming) and seasonings in a heavy saucepan.

• Use a large enough saucepan, as pulses double or triple in volume during cooking.

• Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are just tender and not mushy.

Method Instructions

• Simmer pulses slowly as cooking too fast can break the seed coats.

• Guidelines for cooking times will vary with the type and age of the pulses, as well as with altitude and the hardness of the water.  Beans can take 1-2 hours in the stove or 6-8 hours in the slow cooker.

• Tasting is the best way to check if pulses are done. Cooked pulses are tender, have no “raw” taste, and crush easily in your mouth.

• 250 mL (1 cup) of dry pulses will yield approximately 500 to 750 ml (2 – 3 cups) or 2 – 3 times the original amount when cooked.

• Water amount can be adjusted for consistency required for the recipe

• Purée can be frozen in plastic bags or containers and kept for up to several months in the freezer.

Info from: www.pulsecanada.com

Beans, beans are good for the heart!

Beans, beans are good for the heart!  The more you eat….the healthier thou art? 

Beans are such an amazing food it’s hard to know where to start in talking about why your should consider adding more to your diet.

1. Mega source of fibre!  For a 1 cup serving of black beans you are getting 13 grams of the stuff that makes your intestines smile, insoluble fibre!  Beans also contain soluble fibre which is linked with lowering cholesterol and decreasing blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes!  Us ladies need 25 grams of fibre per day and gents need 38 grams.

2. One serving has less than 1 gram of fat!  Meaning?  It’s low in calories ESPECIALLY if you are comparing it to a serving of meat.  Also it’s good for your heart as it doesn’t contain any heart clogging fats.

3. Protein!  One cup of beans has 15 grams of protein.  Make sure you eat it with a grain which compliments beans by offering the amino acids that they are missing (and vise versa) ensuring your body makes the most the nutrients.  There are many traditional examples of legume/grain dishes including beans and rice in many Central and South American diets.  When Tabitha and I were travelling in South America a couple of years ago, in my opinion the most delicious meal that we ate was Feijouda.  It is a traditional Brazilian black bean dish (beans stewed with pork) and served with rice and orange slices!

4. Disease fighting benefits.  Beans are full of vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc and folic acid all of which contribute to good health.  They also contain antioxidants which are being studying in the lab for everything from heart disease prevention to cancer prevention.

5. Taste, convenience, versatility.  How many types of meat can you name?  There are many different types of beans to experiment with, all with different tastes and textures.  Check out your bulk food store for a large variety.  How much quicker can you get – open up a can, rinse and they are ready to eat!  Beans are super veratile considering their mild flavour and ability to puree into a paste.  Tabitha and I use bean pureed in our baking sometimes (stay tuned for recipes).

6. The more you eat the more you fart?  Excuse the rude childish rhyme but it’s true.  There are carbohydrates found in beans which are broken down in your intestine which cause gas formation.  Tips: Rinse your canned beans really well before adding them to your recipe, discard water used for soaking dried beans, drink plenty of water with your meal and add beans to your diet sowly.  Regularly eating beans helps your gut handle it better.  If all else fails, try some Beano!  It’s an enzyme that helps you digest them more easily.

7. COST!  Check out the price of dried beans sometime.  The cost of a serving of dried beans is a small fraction of the same amount of protein coming from a chicken breast.

8. It’s environmentally friendly!  Pulses use half of the amount of energy used by other crops as they don’t need any nitrogen fertilizer improve the condition of the soil.  Beans and legumes are “nitrogen fixers” which means instead of plants which take nitrogen out of the soil (hence the need to fertilizers), legumes put nitrogen back INTO the soil!   Beans have a low carbon foot-print.  Meat production uses 11 times the amount of fossil fuels to produce an equivalent amount of protein.

Check out www.pulsecanada.com for more information.

Kale Chips

Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least one dark green vegetable per day.  This is because it is bursting with the important vitamin folate.  Spinach, romaine lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and kale all fit the bill here.

Kale is one of those funny vegetables that no one knows what to do with!  The leaves sort of look like lettuce but don’t taste or act like it.  My favorite way of preparing it is kale chips.  If you haven’t tried them you really must!  They dissolve in your mouth and have a wonderful roasted flavour.  The little dash of salt makes them a savory and healthy alternative to chips which also counts as a serving of vegetables.

As a diabetes dietitian I am always trying to find snacks choices and alternatives that are lower in carbohydrates and calories to recommend to my clients.  These kale chips are carbohydrate-free for those who needs to count carbs!  I should note here that both Amy and I do not endorse the “low carbohydrate” fad craze. Carbohydrates provide energy, fuel the brain, and provide a variety of importance vitamins and minerals.  Without carbohydrates in our food our bodies would have to work overtime to compensate.  Those with diabetes have to monitor carbohydrate intake and keep their intake within a certain range – this is why carbohydrate snacks can be useful in helping people stick to their meal plan!

Kale Chips

Ingredients:

1. 1 bunch kale

2. Drizzle of oil

3. Sprinkle of seasoning salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Wash kale well and dry well in salad spinner or with a towel.

3. With a sharp knife cut out hard middle stem of the kale and rip the green leaves into bit sized pieces.

4. In a large mixing bowl drizzle kale with oil and a sprinkle of seasoned salt.  Mix well.

5. Place onto baking sheets (making sure the kale is not crowded).

6. Bake for 10-15minutes or until crispy.

7. Once cool keep in airtight container for 1-2 days.

Portabello Mushroom Burgers

Tabitha:

My friend Adrienne had a great idea for our weekly potluck group – mushroom burgers instead of regular beef burgers!  Both Amy and I have been on a kick of trying to reduce our meat intake as it is better for the environment, better for our health, and better on the pocket book (have you check out the price of lentils?).

This portabello mushroom burger recipe is super quick and easy to prepare and tastes great – especially if you like mushrooms.  The mushrooms will take on whatever flavours you add – so it is easy to experiment with the marinades – hundreds of possibilities!

Sadly I forgot my camera – so no picture of this one.

Portabello Mushroom Burgers (unknown source)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dry basil
1 tsp dry oregano
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 4″ portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed
6 whole wheat buns, toasted
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
1 bunch spinach

Instructions:
Step 1: Prepare barbecue for grilling at medium-high heat. Whisk together vinegar, oil, garlic, basil, oregano and lemon juice in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Brush mushroom caps with vinaigrette and set on grill. Grill until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes per side. Serve immediately on whole wheat buns spread with mayonnaise and dijon mustard and top with spinach.

Use whatever burger toppings you would normally add – or change it up and try something new!  Delicious!

My Omi’s Borscht…with a twist

Amy:

I live in Northern Manitoba and today was a rainy day….which means a perfect time to be productive inside!  As my lovely sister Tabitha was on a canoe trip down in Kenora Ontario where she lives (little jealous), I was cleaning the house.  Cleaning and making a giant pot of borscht that is!

And cook I did.  One of the things that I look forward to about fall is fresh garden veggies and herbs which means BORSCHT!  I can’t think of any more comforting soup than this pink coloured goodness.  We grew up with a Ukrainian grandmother and a Mennonite grandmother which means that our family gatherings were always filled with typical Eastern European foods.  The way my Omi makes borscht is without beets – using cabbage.  My preference is to fuse both styles of borscht and throw both cabbage AND beets into the mix!  Win win!

Beets and cabbage are two fairly unappreciated vegetables.  I love them because they are very nutritious, shelf stable, delicious and cheap!!!  Cabbage is full of a beta-carotene, vitamin C, fibre and a certain type of anti-oxidants (sulphoraphane) which prevents cancer in the body.  Anything with a deep purply colour is rocket fuel for your immune system – and beets certainly fit the bill!  Anthrocyanin is the compound that gives it the intense colour and are linked a reduction in cancer and inflammation in the body.

Omi’s Borscht (With a twist)

Ingredients:

1 Small head of cabbage, chopped

4 Large beets, peeled and diced

1 Large onion, diced

3 Large carrots, diced

3 Large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 750mL can of diced tomatoes, no salt added

Low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (homemade is best or if you don’t have use about 1/2 cup dry powder or to taste) *Use a gluten free one if needed

1/4 cup of white vinegar

5 Bay leaves

3 dried chili peppers or about a teaspoon of crushed chili peppers (tie in cheese cloth with string)

A big bunch of fresh dill or about 1/4 cup or more dried dill – you need lots

A few sprigs of parsley, chopped

~4 liters of water or enough to just cover vegetables

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients into large stock pot and heat on high until boiling.

2. Simmer for 2 hours until all vegetables and tender and flavours have develop.  Adjust spices to taste.

3. Remove chili peppers (trust me you do NOT want to bite into one of those)

4. Ladle into bowl and add a dollop of light sour cream, swirl in.

Delicious as a meal on it’s own with a slice of toast.

The soup will last for a few days in your fridge or it can be canned in mason jars for later.  Freezing it is also an option but I find it changes the texture of the vegetables a little.  Either or.

Enjoy!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Tabitha:

Oh how I Imagelove the beginning of fall as I can start whipping up delicious meals in my oven or slow cooker without worrying about over heating the house!

Last night I made a wonderful and tasty meal of stuffed peppers. Quick, easy and nutritious.  The main ingredient in this dish is quinoa – it has grown in popularity over the years due to its amazing nutrition profile (a whole grain that is a complete source of protein) and versatility (mild flavour and cooks up in 20 minutes!).  I always have a stock of quinoa in my cupboard!

I adapted a recipe that worked out deliciously well!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Adapted from epicurious.com

Ingredients

1 c. raw quinoa

1.5 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

3 medium bell peppers

3 tbsp olive or canola oil

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

pinch red pepper flakes

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

2 grated carrot

½ cup reduced-fat crumbed feta cheese

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF

2. Cook the quinoa:

– Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under running water.

– Put 1 cup quinoa with 1.5 cups of stock in a pot and bring to a boil.

– Reduce heat to minimum, cover, and let cook 15 minutes.

– Remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 minutes before fluffing.

3. Cut peppers in ½ lengthwise leaving on the stem.  Remove seeds.  Lightly brush peppers with oil and place, cut side down, on lightly oiled baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned, but not collapsed.  Remove from oven.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF.

5. Mix together quinoa, spices, grated carrot, and feta cheese.  Scoop quinoa mixture into peppers on baking dish.  Place back in oven for 10-15minutes until heated through.

6. Serve with salad or vegetables and a glass of milk for a complete meal.

A delicious dietitian duo!

Hello!  Our names are Amy and Tabitha.  We are twin sister dietitians passionate about delicious food that nourishes your body and soul!   We plan to share our love in the form of delicious, easy, “speed scratch” cooking which means using simple ingredients to make fast meals!   Often we go on food jags when we discover a new ingredient in a new way or a particular tasty recipe.

Stay tuned for inspirations…..